How To Use Face Oils Without Breaking Out

Facial oils, in general, get a bad rap. People, rightfully, assume that slathering your face in literal oil will clog pores and result in acne, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Plant oils have been used in medicine for hundreds of years,” explains dermatologist Dr. Lily Talakoub, MD, of McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center . “They have been  shown to have anti-microbial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.” They can also help take off makeup and work to soothe dehydrated or sensitive skin. Plus, she says, “facial oils help improve skin hydration and restore the natural [moisture] barrier of the skin.”

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The rich, silky texture of oils lend themselves well to the cold and drying months of winter, but might not be an obvious choice for sweat season (a.k.a. summer), when our skin usually winds up feeling oilier than ever. “Our skin makes more sebum in hot, humid summer months…but that doesn’t increase skin moisture levels,” says Dr. Loretta Ciraldo MD FAAD. “In fact, a lot of times we use drying products in summer and we need to replenish lipids, the skin’s natural moisture trapping oils.”

Instead of slapping on a thick, heavy moisturizer, facial oils allow you to hydrate your skin without leaving a goop-y layer on top for you to sweat into. Read on for dermatologist-approved tips for how to use facial oils in the summer.

Lighten up

“Avoid heavy oils during the summer months which can clog your pores,” says Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, medical director of Mudgil Dermatology, PC. He suggests steering clear of avocado and coconut oils, which are too heavy for your pores in the heat. Instead, says Dr. Shereene Idriss, MD, of NYC’s Union Square Dermatology, look for non-comedogenic (aka non-pore clogging options) like grapeseed, rose, or jojoba oils.


Try: Ausome Hydrating Double Layer Mist, a dual-layered face mist that uses jojoba oil to hydrate and lock in moisture, plus apple and tomato extracts to smooth and soften.

Don’t forget the SPF

We all know how important it is to lather on SPF during summer months, and that goes double if you are using an oil during the day. Dr. Mudgil advises putting your sunscreen on first, then applying the oil. If you try to put the oil on first, your sunscreen won’t properly adhere to your skin and you’ll be in danger of a mega-sunburn.

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Try: Make P:rem Capsule Sun Gel, a lightweight SPF that sinks in immediately, making it a great, non-sticky precursor to your oil.

Apply oils on top of your most active products

“Start with your products that have the most active ingredients first, to make sure those get absorbed into your skin,” says Dr. Idriss, who also suggests mixing a drop or two of oil into your serum or moisturizer. “There’s no hard science on which one you should use first, but if you want to make sure you’re getting the full effect of your treatments, put the products with the most active ingredients on first.”

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Try: Yuripibu Cucu Black Truffle Serum, a multi-benefit treatment loaded with skin-renewing actives like retinol, amino acids, proteins, and niacinamide. It’s potent without being harsh and pairs beautifully with a hydrating oil.

Save your oils at night

For the oiliest among us, our experts say you might be better off skipping the a.m. application. “I would recommend using the oils at night only,” says NYC-based dermatologist Michele Green, MD. “Then use light moisturizer and sunscreen in the daytime.”


Try: Blossom Jeju 100% Camellia Seed Dry Oil, a lightweight, fast-absorbing dry oil that will blend beautifully with your day or night moisturizer.

Don’t overdo it

The most important thing when it comes to applying facial oils, especially in the warmer months, is to figure out the amount that works with your specific skin type. “The one mistake I see people make is that they overuse it, and then they start getting extremely dry,” explains Dr. Idriss. “Oils can mimic your natural oil production, so if you overdo it on the oil, your body then thinks it doesn’t need to produce its own sebum, causing skin to become dry.” Start with a small amount of oil and adjust to more or less, depending on how your skin reacts, until you find a balance that works for you.

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